Acquisition of power is a good thing but it must be managed properly.
|What is this thing about power that its change is always accompanied with change in fortunes? What is this thing about power that people denounce themselves in order to align themselves with new power holders? What is this thing about power that transforms timid and loathsome characters into the most sought after jewels and oases of wisdom? What is this thing about power that whoever losses it is left dejected? What is this thing about power that its loss is dreaded by the holder and sycophants alike and its gain celebrated?
On a Sunday afternoon, I stood by the roadside idling about when I saw a dog in hot pursuit of another dog. The dog running for its dear life had its tail curled between its hind legs and the dog after it had its tail raised rigidly above its body. After a few minutes, I saw the dog that pursued the other dog being pursued by yet another dog going in the opposite direction. This time around the position of the tails relative to their bodies and state had similar patterns.
The movie “Trading Places” opens with a character played by Eddie Murphy, plying the streets begging. An executive working for two commodity trading tycoons was busy with high life, attending classy parties and being pursued by classy women. For the executive, life was beautiful as long as it lasted. Meanwhile the character played by Eddie Murphy had a life full of misery and policemen on their beat pounced upon him every now and then. The two tycoons playfully decided to swap positions of the character played by Eddie Murphy with that of the Executive. The results were both hilarious and pitiful.
Who does not want to acquire power? If the Jews had power over the Nazis, they would never have allowed the holocaust to take place. If Hitler had overpowered the allied forces, the world would be ruled by the “master race”. If public leaders manipulate systems to elongate their stay in power, society will remain oppressed. Power holders possess potential to affect people’s lives positively or negatively. They distribute wealth through selective empowerment.
The people that hail and revere those in power stand to gain. After all, selective empowerment is not always based on substance, but other factors like reverence.
The goodness is that power is a transferrable phenomenon. The critical moment in the power cycle is not the time power enters but rather the time power exits. As power transfers, the praise singers transfer their praises to the new recipient of that power. It is therefore necessary for those people in power to manage such power over its lifecycle with wisdom.
If we are to distinguish between position power and personal power, position power is more transferrable than personal power. Personal power enables the acquisition and maintenance of position power, but does not guarantee it. Position power is more prone to lifecycle effects than personal power. The dogs depended on dog power and the characters in the movie depended on position power. Both types of power are not absolute and therefore liable to exceptions.
Whilst power is a beautiful thing, it tends to be abused by the holders. It is said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It will be prudent to regulate position power in all spheres of life to have short lifecycle in order to control dominance of minority over majority.
There is a lot to be gained when one position power is counterbalanced by another position power. We have witnessed the negative effects of majority power in our parliament. We have also witnessed the devastating effects of power monopoly within political parties. Power within parties should always be properly distributed by the mechanics of intraparty democracy.
During the cold war, the world feared an outbreak of a nuclear war. The world was polarized between two superpowers. As tension brewed between the two superpowers, the non-powers enjoyed greater latitude. Commonwealth Africa was handled with kid gloves. One did not need a visa to travel to the UK. The term “economic migrants” was not in common use. This gives us good ideas about the benefits of having a power balance and shortened span of position power.